Cool College Traditions I've Heard About

As seen on college tours... (To be continued...)
  1. American University, Washington, D.C. - Trick or Treating on Embassy Row
    Students collect foreign candy on Halloween from the embassies on Embassy Row
  2. Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. - Stealing the clock hands
    The clock hands from the clock tower on top of Healy Hall get stolen by undergrad students and sent to world leaders. The hope is that whoever they're sent to will come and speak at Georgetown to return them, but sometimes they're just mailed back. Frequent speaker is alum Bill Clinton.
  3. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL - Painting the rock
    Between University Hall & Harris Hall, the rock has a unique history. Legend has it it was once a fountain, but sometime in the 1940s someone forgot to turn it off in the winter, so the pipes froze & burst. Freshmen decided to paint it, but seniors became upset & forced them to clean it. Once the freshmen were seniors, they decided to make it a tradition & students have used it as a billboard ever since. Rule: You must camp out for 24 hours prior, and security footage allows students to check.
  4. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL - Pavement signage
    Along the sidewalks of campus, fliers are taped all over instead of on billboards. Apparently this tradition began when a student noticed Northwestern students tended to be socially awkward and look down while walking, so he decided to take advantage of it.
  5. Columbia University, New York, NY - The swim test
    For Columbia College (not the School of Engineering), students are required to take a test where they swim 3 lengths of the pool. The tradition is to put it off until the last testing date of senior year, and then everyone shows up in ridiculous outfits for a pool party afterwards. The myth is that the school wanted to make sure students could swim across the river to escape British forces during the American Revolution.
  6. Columbia University, New York, NY - The Iliad
    Not necessarily a tradition, but each Columbia student is required to read Homer's The Iliad (the Richmond Lattimore translation) before starting their freshman year. Our tour guide said one of her friends was flying to NY for the start of the school year and was reading it in the airport (no Columbia gear on or anything), when an alum came up to her and said, "You're going to Columbia. No one your age would be reading that specific edition of such a heavy book unless they're going to Columbia."
  7. Fordham University, Bronx, NY
    On the Rose Hill campus, there is a statue of their mascot, a ram. Apparently every student is required to ride it at least once before they graduate. It used to be completely surrounded by bushes, but students would stomp through and ruin them to reach the statue, so the grounds crew cut a small section out for students to get through.
  8. Boston College, Newton, MA - Red Bandana events
    Welles Crowther worked in one of the World Trade Centers in NYC and is known for heroically saving at least a dozen people during the 9/11 attacks. He didn't survive, but his body was found in tact, and he was wearing a red bandana that his father had given to him when he was younger. Crowther had attended BC, so every year there's a 5K and a football game in his honor.
  9. Boston College, Newton, MA - Mile 21
    BC is mile 21 on the Boston Marathon route, so every year students line up with 'Mile 21' gear to cheer on the runners as they finish up the last few miles.
  10. Boston College, Newton, MA - the Beanpot Tournament
    Every winter, a hockey tournament is held between BC, Harvard University, Boston University, and Northeastern University. BC students try to pack the T so that when it stops by BU, BU students don't have any room to get on.